27 December 2011
Finnish and Russian SMEs stem power from cooperation
Cooperation between Finnish and Russian small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) is moving ahead as concrete projects though an agreement between national funding agencies from the two countries. The goal is to improve enterprises international competitiveness. The first joint round of applications attracted plenty of interest.
The cooperation agreement, signed by Tekes (The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) and the Russian funding agency FASIE (The Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises) earlier this year, aims to promote the creation of technological innovations and partnerships among small and medium size enterprises in respective countries
The main goal is to support SMEs to improve their international competitiveness in jointly defined thematic areas. These include, for instance, built environment, energy efficiency, ICT, biotechnology and medicine.
The collaboration focuses on launching common calls for proposals, funding innovative collaboration projects, investing possibilities of joint projects within EUREKA and partnering trough networks, such as the European Enterprise network (EEN).
EEN is considered a well established mechanism for direct communications between innovative small enterprises in Russia and Finland. It allows dissemination of information, identification potential partnerships and initiating bilateral cooperation projects
The first joint round successfulBased on the agreement, the first joint round of applications for Finnish and Russian SMEs was arranged as a pilot project. The round attracted plenty of interest. No restrictions were placed as to the sector in which the companies operate.
A total of 22 applications for national funding were received, of which the joint evaluation board of Tekes and FASIE selected seven joint projects.
”There clearly was great interest in this type of cooperation. Despite the short preparation time, we received a large number of applications. The results were so good that we can carry on with another round,” says Director Mika Lautanala from Tekes.
”A high standard of expertise can be found in Russia, and the country has many on-going development projects. The round of applications produced a number of good project ideas, which can be taken further to also generate promising joint projects in the future,” Lautanala says.
Achieving long-term businessThe Finnish companies selected to participate in the joint projects are Aimo Kortteen Konepaja Oy, HyTest Ltd, Magister Solutions Ltd, MAS-Metabolic Analytical Services Oy, Metkinen Chemistry, Oplatek Group Oy and Unesta Oy.
Particular interest in the cooperation was shown by actors in the life sciences field, which most of the joint projects also represent. Projects were also set up in the well-being services and ICT sectors.
”The timing of the application round was perfect for our needs. We had already discussed possible cooperation with our future Russian partner,” explains Jyrki Huttunen, President of Oplatek Group Oy.
”We count on this project to help us develop new ideas, build up our expertise and achieve long-term business in Russia,” Huttunen describes his expectations concerning the cooperation.
Environmentally-friendly pelletisingConcerning bioenergy, one of the selected Finnish companies is providing innovative technology for pellet production from raw material at its source.
The technology of Aimo Kortteen Konepaja Oy makes pellet manufacturing more profitable and environmentally friendly.
Wood waste, straw or other types of biomass yield a high-quality product, and there are no unnecessary transport costs or emissions for this lightweight raw material.
The technology is especially suitable for the sawmill and furniture industry.
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